Welcome to the crafty side of my life. Here I'll be musing about projects I'm working on, and the creative process around them. Oh, and there will be occasional bouts of cooking, photography, and poetry, too.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Cleaning a dried gourd
I'm just about done with the scarf project, and so I'm moving on to my next requested work: a decorated gourd. My first step was to head out to the stash in my shed, and pick out a dried gourd. I brought it inside a couple of days ago, to give it time to adjust from the baking desert heat out in the shed to the cool and somewhat more humid air in the house.
A raw gourd has a waxy coating on the outside of it, which needs to be removed so the dye can get to the rind of the gourd. I scrub the coating off with a copper kitchen scrubbie and some water. Sometimes you need to soak the gourd for a bit to loosen the coating. But you need to be careful not to soak too long, as the dry rind will swell and perhaps crack. And, a wet rind is softer and more fragile. But in this case, the waxy coating came off in about 20 minutes worth of scrubbing. (Sorry about the focus on the picture--I was paying more attention to the work than the documentation.)
I let the gourd sit for 24 hours after removing the waxy coating, to make sure it dried back out again. Because, again, wet gourd = more fragile gourd. Then I took it out to the garage, put my dust mask on (very important!! No mold spores in my lungs, thank you very much.) and used my little craft saw to carve open the top.
Inside is a mess of seeds and dried pulp.
I took my handy dandy scraper, and had at it. The insides went into a bucket, and were destined for the compost pile. If you don't have a scraper, various spoons work well. I used to use a grapefruit spoon.
You can get pretty far with just the scraper.
But I like power tools. This is a specialized sanding bit for my drill. You need to be really careful to keep a good hold on the gourd, and work very patiently. I've cracked more than one gourd on this step by letting things get battered around.
But you can see how it strips the rest of the dried white pulp coating off of the walls of the hard rind.
I did the same thing to the top of the gourd, so I had a lid for my future bowl. I'll probably sand the edges of the rim just a bit, and maybe sand down the inside of the bowl. But it is pretty much ready for the decorating part now.